Early modern female book ownership is a relatively new field of scholarly interest, but that interest has been growing in recent years. Below are resources both on book ownership and on women and book history more generally.

Annotated Books Online, a database of early books with marginalia and “a virtual research environment for scholars and students interested in historical reading practices.”

Boston Public Library digitized playbooks: A source for a small number of female-owned books.

Caroline Bowden, “Building Libraries in Exile: The English Convents and Their Book Collections in the Seventeenth Century,” British Catholic History 32.3 (2015): 343– 82.

Caroline Bowden, “The Library of Mildred Cooke Cecil, Lady Burghley,” The Library 6.1 (2005): 3– 29.

Heidi Brayman Hackel, Reading Material in Early Modern England: Print, Gender, and Literacy. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. Contains a chapter on women readers.

British Armorial Bindings database, by John Morris and the University of Toronto: Allows for searching for owners and the stamps they placed on bookbindings.

The British Library’s database of bookbindings enables looking for ownership based on individualized bindings:

Andrew Cambers, “Readers’ Marks and Religious Practice: Margaret Hoby’s Marginalia,” in Tudor Books and Readers: Materiality and the Construction of Meaning, ed. John N. King. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 211– 31.

CERL’s Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI), a database “specifically designed to record and search the material evidence (or copy specific, post-production evidence and provenance information) of 15th-century printed books: ownership, decoration, binding, manuscript annotations, stamps, prices, etc.” A search for the phrase “gender:1001” retrieves all female owners of incunabula that have been recorded in either the main MEI database of individual copies or thedatabase of owners. The search may be limited to women owners active before 1800.

Julie Crawford, “Reconsidering Early Modern Women’s Reading, or, How Margaret Hoby Read Her Mornay,” Huntington Library Quarterly 73.2 (2010): 193– 223.

Anne J. Cruz and Rosilie Hernández, eds., Women’s Literacy in Early Modern Spain and the New World. Ashgate, 2011; Routledge, 2016. Several essays on women’s reading habits and libraries.

Early Book Owners in Britain (EBOB), a searchable database of early book ownership from 1450-1550:

The website Frances Wolfreston Hor Bouks by Sarah Lindenbaum aims to list all books that belonged to Frances Wolfreston (1607-1677): franceswolfrestonhorbouks.

Leah Knight, Micheline White, and Elizabeth Saur, eds. Women’s Bookscapes in Early Modern Britain. University of Michigan Press, 2018. Collection of essays on female book ownership “rediscovering and reframing the rich and multifaceted history of early modern British women’s book ownership and library compilation.” Essays by numerous scholars, including Micheline White, Mark Empey, and Sarah Lindenbaum on the topic of women’s libraries and reading.

Sarah Lindenbaum, “Written in the Margent: Frances Wolfreston Revealed.” Guest blog post on The Collation: Research and Exploration at the Folger. 6/21/2018.

Erin A. McCarthy, “Reading Women Reading Donne in Manuscript and Printed Miscellanies: A Quantitative Approach,” The Review of English Studies 69 (2018), pp. 661–685,….

David McKitterick, “Women and Their Books in Seventeenth- Century England: The Case of Elizabeth Puckering,” Library, 7th ser., 1.4 (2000): 363.

Femke Molekamp, Women and the Bible in Early Modern England: Religious Reading and Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Kate Narveson, Bible Readers and Lay Writers in Early Modern England: Gender and Self- Definition in an Emergent Writing Culture. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012.

Michael Pearse, “Four seventeenth-century inventories of Donibristle House, Fife.” Retrieved from his page on, December 2018. Lists books owned by several women.

David Pearson’s English Book Owners in the Seventeenth Century, which includes among its listings a number of female book owners:

The Perdita Project catalogs female-authored manuscripts in the free version. The paid version includes digital facsimiles:

Private Libraries in Renaissance England, sponsored by the Folger Library, enables searching for women’s book collections:

The RECIRC project, which studies reception and circulation of writing by women, includes a component on book ownership: See for instance, Bronagh McShane, “Inscriptions in the Galway Dominican Convent Library Collection,” posted August 10, 2017.

Jennifer Richards and Fred Schurink, eds., “The Textuality and Materiality of Reading in Early Modern England,” Special Issue of Huntington Library Quarterly 73.3 (2010).

Helen Smith, “Grossly Material Things”: Women and Book Production in Early Modern England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Contains a chapter on women as readers of books.

Rosalind Smith, “Le Pouvoir de faire dire: Marginalia in Mary Queen of Scots’ Book of Hours,” in Material Cultures of Early Modern Women’s Writing, ed. Patricia Pender and Rosalind Smith. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2014. 55– 75.

UK RED, the Reading Experience Database, which allows searching for evidence of readership and limiting by time period and gender.

Susie West, “Rare Books and Rare Women: Gender and Private Libraries 1660-1830,” in Gendering Library History, ed. E. Kerslake and N. Moody. Liverpool: John Moores University, 2000. 179-95.

Eric White, “Rare book working group examines ‘Her Book’,” Notabilia, October 2018. Information on working group at Princeton looking at evidence of female book ownership in the holdings of the Princeton University Library.

Alex Wingate’s websites with inventories of books owned by Spanish women:

Heather Wolfe, Uncancelling the Cancelled: Recovering Obliterated Owners of Old Books. The Collation: Research and Exploration at the Folger. April 2019.

Heather Wolfe, “Reading Bells and Loose Papers: Reading and Writing Practices of the English Benedictine Nuns of Cambrai and Paris,” in Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Writing. Ed. Victoria E. Burke and Jonathan Gibson. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004. 135– 56.

Women’s Book History: a full bibliography of all works related to women and book history, compiled by Cait Coker and Kate Ozment: